So Barry, can you tell us a little about yourself?
I run a team in Virginia Beach, VA—Better Homes & Gardens Real Estate. I’ve been in the business since I was 18—so that’s a couple decades and change.
My team sales are somewhere around 850-1000 units every year.
What’s your team structure look like?
We’ve got about 70 agents. We have an accounting department, business development department, 4 transaction managers, 6 ISAs, a website & graphic designer, and full-time assistants.
We also have a QA team for our virtual assistance, 3 copywriters, and 1 videographer.
The point being, is we have a lot of support for our agents to drive results. We are a Teamerage.
So agents team up with us because we provide opportunities and leads.
What's the day-to-day like in your Teamerage?
We generate a lot of leads online. We send them to a team of 6 ISAs. They convert the leads and set appointments for them.
We are in the process of migrating all our forms into Sisu’s forms. And then, that triggers the 4 transaction managers. They hand the deal to them, and then the agents get to go back to what they do best—nurturing relationships.
We have slowly moved over to a purely ISA model. It took us a while to do that, but once we got a team of quality agents, we were able to invest that amount of money into them.
Having Sisu manage the metric of appointments met has been massive to us.
Our workflow used to be:
I gave my agents 30 leads.
- How many calls did they make?
- How many texts did they make?
- How many appointments did they set?
- What do they have under contract?
If I’ve got other people calling and texting, now that metric of appointment met >>> transaction pending is very very important.
Sisu has been a big part of us being able to manage that data.
What we found was that in April that only 20% of our appointments set were being met. We didn’t know that until we were tracking it inside of Sisu.
Fast forward 1.5 months later, and now appointments set and met are 50-70%.
Now we have more training and coaching points with agents of why aren’t appointments set & met aren’t being hit. That’s invaluable data for my business.
One of the immediate changes we made is after the ISA makes the appointment, the ISA sends a group text message to the assigned agent and the lead—intro’ing the agent, letting the agent know if the time doesn’t work for them. To let us know now.
But again, going back to the data. I wouldn’t have known to make those process changes unless I knew something wasn’t working.
Being that I juggle multiple projects outside of my real estate business, I have to identify problems quickly. I have to create solutions through people or computers. So that I can keep my freedom.
If I’m worried about my team and I’m wasting money, or there are failures or fires that I have to put out, then I’m not going to be able to conquer my other goals outside of work.
So, having really great data so that in the evening, I can log in and quickly scan what’s going on in my business.
Task out changes that I need to make immediately. Having really good data is an important part of that recipe.
Technology: What’s your stack look like?
Marketing-wise, we are all in on Ylopo. Full disclosure, I also work for them.
We generate our leads through Ylopo, Google, Facebook, and also inbound phone calls.
Then, all of our leads go into FollowUpBoss.
Certain types of leads go to one set of ISAs. Namely, Conversion Monster. Other types of leads go directly to my in-house ISAs.
Certain types of leads then get scanned with re-valuate. It’s the A.I. platform that determines how likely someone is to move.
The cool thing about what Ylopo is doing is they are keeping the consumer in my wheel house. We currently have 152K leads inside of FollowUpBoss right now.
We are sending cards through the AM cards widget directly inside of FollowUpBoss.
Call action is a key part of that as well.
What we do is—based on certain behaviors, like ‘AI says they are likely to move’ - okay, let's do a call action campaign, as long as they’ve opted into automated texting on my Ylopo site (we set up some filters for that)
If they engage our HomeBot report, Ylopo is then sending a Homebot report to the homeowners. They get added to a series of voicemail drops and MMS texts from Call Action.
Meanwhile, my ISAs are monitoring those responses within Call Action alongside of FollowUpBoss. When those things aren’t keeping them busy, we have a 2-way integration with Mojo Dialer.
Mojo Dialer syncs at the smartless level and the stage level. Notes in Mojo go into FollowUpBoss and vice versa.
That’s when they really have to breeze through ‘expired, fisbos, auctions’ and then all of our leads that triggered priority alerts as well.
The MOJO calls are syncing to Sisu. The call action texts are syncing to Sisu. We use the followup dialer for 1-to-1 calls, that goes to Sisu.
All the HUMAN effort that the agent and the ISA is doing is feeding back to Sisu. Even conversion monster, the ISA service. we have that dialed in.
Because they are tagging the lead when they do something, and we have that behavior going back into Sisu again.
Zapier is my digital duct tape that helps all the software communicate with each other.
What challenges did you face before you implemented Sisu in your business, and how did Sisu overcome those challenges?
I’ve been using Sisu for 4 or 5 years. At first, I used Sisu for their “goal setting” tool.
I’d ask the agent how much money they want to make a year, and they’d put that in the goal setting feature within Sisu.
For example: Agent says they want to make 100K a year. Put that in, then based on averages of appointment rates, closing rates, etc.
Then the agent would be able to see exactly how many calls, texts, emails, appointments they need to make per month.
At first, it was a rudimentary tracking between the agent & their long-term goals.
From there, we started to integrated our commissions reporting from DASH into Sisu.
That led me down the rabbit hole of recognizing that I could actually see where my business' money went.
Not only what I made as the team owner, the brokerage made, and what the agents made.
That got my wheels spinning.
I then started to look at integrating FollowUpBoss at the lead source level so that I could see. “I got 100 Ylopo leads this month” then I could see how much money I made vs spent on the leads. Then I used the lead expense, can see “Cost per lead, cost per closing, closing ratios, etc”
Then I was able to increase money on certain lead sources, decrease others—or cancel altogether.
For example, with Zillow and realtor.com, I was spending the cost of a really nice Mercedes every month.
Everybody on the team was making money, I was making a 10% return on my money. It wasn’t worth 700K per year.
Being able to transition with confidence AWAY from those lead sources, Sisu was a big part of that because I was able to see the accounting that supported those decisions.
More recently, I went all in on transaction management. All of our tasks are within Sisu.
The reason I did that was because I decided that instead of depending on the opinion of my transaction manager to switch platforms (which is what most people do—oh I gotta keep the TM happy).
I finally decided to say, “This is what we are doing, and find a way to make it work.”
I made this decision because ultimately, I wanted the transaction management department to inform the rest of my business. That was a big change, because up until then, everything was centered around making my transaction manager happy, and it really hamstrung the rest of my business.
Once we made that shift, that’s when I noticed that there were all these additional fields that were left empty (because the agents aren’t going to fill that stuff out), that now were being filled.
At the end of the month, I can click "reports" inside of Sisu, and I’ve got crazy data.
- I can see who is using the lenders I want them to use
- Home warranties
- Ancillary data I didn’t have before
As Sisu has progressed as a technology system, I opted in more and more as time has going on.
Now with the Sisu Client Portal, we send a client portal link to every new client.
It’s a huge value add, we say, “Hey, if you want to see what we are doing, kind of like Dominos Pizza Tracker: Just like you can see where your pizza is, now you click on this portal link to see where you are in the transaction process."
Have you had any tangible results since you implemented Sisu?
The most recent tangible result I can speak to:
The market is in a weird place right now. Rates have gone up, the buyer pool has dipped, we still don’t have enough listings.
So, I want to prepare for the worst and hope for the best.
The way that we did that is with the agent accountability section within Sisu.
When a lead is searching on our Ylopo site, it actually adds a custom field (averaging their search within FollowUpBoss). We know they are looking for a $343,000 home.
We take that number and inject it into the agent accountability screen.
When the ISAs are setting the appointments, we put a monetary value for that appointment inside of Sisu.
Then we do the extra step to set up the 3% commission and what their 50% take home pay is.
The reason why we are doing this is because we didn’t want our agents to focus on the 100 leads they might have, we really wanted them to focus on the 20 leads WE set the appointment on, and we wanted to SHOW them how much commission they will get.
What we saw is that the phone call VOLUME went down, but their TALK TIME went up.
That’s because we got them to focus within the agent accountability screen on more substantive conversations with people that have money in their bank account, great credit, and the ability to buy regardless of all the market craziness.
What would you say to someone who is considering Sisu for their business?
I think when it comes to real estate technology, agents tend to hear about a successful business like mine and say, “Well Barry is using Sisu, so I need to use Sisu.”
I’m not saying that that’s not necessarily a good thing, because you want to copy success—success leaves clues.
But I would challenge the person that is investigating Sisu as a product. To first start with obsessing about 1 problem that you’re trying to solve.
You’re going to go and get the Demo and you’re going to see that Sisu solves a thousand different problems.
You might instantly get overwhelmed and get analysis paralysis.
What I recommend you do, is just master 1 problem.
And just like I did, over 4 years with the platform, and as Sisu evolved and took on different problems in my business.
Take one problem at a time.
If you need a transaction management platform, go all in, master it entirely and then you can dive into agent accountability. Or Maybe do ROI reporting.
Do little bits at a time, and I think you have a tendency to “want to get it over with” but I know from experience, if you put in the work and integrate your systems, you are able to make better business decisions.
Instead of being emotionally driven, the Sisu system allows you to be pragmatic and logical—and you are going to be able to be a success regardless of the circumstances around you.
I lost everything in 2008, and I know that’s not going to happen again because I’m an informed business owner. And I do that with the data Sisu provides.
Lastly, where can we find you Barry?
You can find me on instagram at @realbarryjenkins.
Also, if you'd like to join my texting community, you can text the word 'sales' to (757) 780-1241 and we can connect directly that way too.